I received an email from my ISP informing me that information about me was subpoenaed in connection to a lawsuit. What is it about?
Welcome to the club of 200,000+ victims of predatory lawsuits, kind of scam but with one difference – scammers, a.k.a. copyright trolls, albeit being unethical, usually don’t break any written laws, so you cannot just report them to authorities, it will not work. They don’t break the Law, they abuse it. To learn more about this extortion scheme, read About.


What should I do?
You have two options.

  1. Do nothing. Your case may be dismissed prior to the date ISP is set to reveal your personal details to plaintiff. If the case is not dismissed, and the troll eventually gets your name, you will start receiving threatening letters and phone calls. Keep reading to understand how to deal with these threats.
  2. Try to fight back. File a motion to quash the subpoena or dismiss multiple Does. An outcome of such a motion is uncertain – it is really depends on the judge, and since it costs virtually nothing to you, it is worth trying. Even if you don’t succeed, your effort is not in vain: judges’ awareness of this scam grows, and if this judge receives many motions like yours, it may alter his initial opinion on the matter. In addition, trolls normally write and file an opposition to every motion; therefore they spend their time. And more of a troll’s time is wasted, less time he has to inflict damage to the society.

I decided to file a motion. Do I need a lawyer?
Hiring a lawyer at this phase has some advantages: judges will more likely listen to a lawyer than to a pro se defendant, but I don’t think you should spend money at this stage: it is uncertain if a troll can get your name at all. Note that there are good templates that you can use for your motion.

What should I write?
Read this post, download the file linked from it, and modify it accordingly. Don’t forget to specify your e-mail address. I recommend creating a disposable e-mail account (aol, yahoo, hushmail, etc.) specifically for this case – the answer to “Should I specify my name or should I file anonymously?” question explains why you should do that.
The mentioned post’s comment section is very active, so if you have a question, don’t hesitate asking it there: there are many people who are willing to help. Also, visit DieTrollDie’s blog – it has more motion templates, articles and discussions.

How do I stay informed about developments in my case and/or similar cases?
If your motion is filed with the court and you specified an email address, all the new documents for your case will be sent to you as soon as they are filed.
Otherwise it’s hard to get details on a particular case unless it’s been involved in a recently interesting and newsworthy decision or you find one of the Does. Best bet is to get a PACER account and then get Firefox and run the RECAP plugin. This extension merges the regular PACER database with the free records archive maintained by RECAP. When you access PACER with the plugin installed it modifies the pages displayed so if the document is already in RECAP’s archive you can view it for free. If the document is not in PACER, when you download it (it costs $0.08/page from PACER – will be $0.10 starting March 2012) the RECAP plugin will automatically upload it to their database so that you and others can view it for free in the future. It sucks that PACER charges, but for these cases the documents are not that big and if you rack up less than $20.00 in a quarter, they’ll actually waive the fees. Chances are if you just need to follow your own case or keep tabs on a couple interesting cases you probably won’t end up having to pay. It’s also a great thing to do for the community as the more people browse PACER with RECAP the more documents become openly available and the more we all learn.
You can also search the RECAP archive for cases and find documents that others have uploaded, however I strongly recommend going the PACER account/RECAP plugin route as I have found that the index for their web search is very out of date relative to what is available when using the plugin.
If you want just to check if a new document is filed in a case, you can use RFCExpress: although their prices for documents are ridiculous (many documents they sell are available for free elsewhere), unlike PACER, they don’t charge for the document listings, just make sure you scroll down to the bottom of the document list and hit the “Request List Update” button.

Is it legal to share court documents I received by email or downloaded trough Pacer?
Absolutely! Court documents are in public domain and can be distributed freely. You can legally upload the documents to a free pdf hosting service, like Scribd, but I suggest using Recap service as detailed in the previous paragraph.

Should I specify my name or should I file anonymously?
Technically you cannot litigate in a court anonymously, but it is up to the judge. Your goal is not to litigate, but to give the judge an opportunity to make an informed decision. Some judges don’t know the real goal of these lawsuits and how impudently trolls are abusing the judicial system to enrich themselves. So your motion can educate judges. Some judges are angry at trolls but don’t have an excuse to dismiss your case, so your motion can be that excuse.

What should I send with my motion, and where should I send this?
You should sign both the motion and the certificate of service. Also, you may want to attach a proposed order (see an example here).
You have to send a copy of the motion to plaintiff’s council – his address is specified on every court document he files. You don’t have to include a copy of a proposed order.
I recommend using priority or other certified mail with delivery confirmation: this way you will be sure that your motion is delivered, and the troll won’t be able to claim that you failed to serve a copy to him.
If you fight anonymously, make sure that you don’t reveal your address. You cannot send a certified mail without a return address via a postal clerk: he will not accept it, and specifying a fake address is not a good idea – you don’t want to break the law and commit a fraud. In this case you should either buy priority mail stamps or use an automated mailing center.
Envelopes of anonymous filings are usually filed with motions, so everyone will know where you will have sent your motion from. If eventually the troll learns your address, it will not be difficult to calculate the addressee. Since trolls want to discourage defendants from fighting, you will possibly receive a “special treatment”, i.e. will be selectively prosecuted, the settlement demand will be increased, etc.
Hence, I recommend asking your friend in another state to re-mail your motion. If you estimate that many defendants live in your state/city, you can drive a couple of counties from your home to mail it. Alternatively you can use a remailing service like this one: it is very cheap.

I received a letter from a lawyer accusing me of copyright infringement and demanding money. Should I pay?
No. Albeit lawful, this is a known scam. By paying you make this scam sustainable, so paying is harmful not only to you, but to society in general. Read the About page and the blog posts for more information.

Plaintiff’s lawyer politely asks questions over a phone or in an e-mail. He sounds friendly and assures me that I have nothing to worry about if I’m innocent. Should I answer his questions?
No. Since the “evidence” against you is very weak, he will try to provoke your self-incriminating statements. Sometimes it is hard to see how your no-nonsense words can be used against you, but those lawyers are professionals in twisted logic, so they attempt to use your statements to increase pressure to settle.

So what should I say/write?
Just hang up / ignore his emails. If for any reason you want to communicate with plaintiff’s lawyer, consult with an attorney first, and not just any attorney, but one with experience in copyright litigation field and have a good reputation.

I was named in a lawsuit and served with the summons and the amended complaint. What should I do?
At this point it is not wise to ignore this matter, so you must reply. You may want to hire a lawyer, it is up to you: a motion from a lawyer weights more than any pro se filing, plus lawyers can notice troll’s procedural errors and the case can be dismissed based on those errors before merits are considered. On the other hand, many judges are more tolerant to mistakes in pro se filings than to lawyers’ errors.

Why can’t I just ignore this matter as I ignored ransom letters?
In civil cases if a defendant fails to answer to the complaint, so called “default judgment” will be issued by a judge. Law is law, no matter how unfair it is, judges are bound by it. They can in theory lessen the amount claimed by plaintiff, but still the resulting fine will be most likely disastrous for you.

Can I just refuse to accept certified mail, so the troll wouldn’t have a proof of delivery?
Although it is technically not illegal to refuse mail, some judges still may treat you as if you received the court documents. In some jurisdictions, even sending a certified letter constitutes a proof of service. So I wouldn’t recommend playing this game.

Can I proceed without a lawyer in this case?
If you don’t want to spend money on legal help, which is understandable, you may try to file an answer to complaint yourself. Fortunately, there is a growing pool of good samples. For example, look at this one.

What happens next?
Based on my observations, you will most likely be dismissed without prejudice eventually. Expect more attempts to push you into settlement and threats of trial, these are largely hollow threats. One exception: if you are wealthy, trolls can dismiss you without prejudice and sue you in your jurisdiction. But if you are wealthy, you will be able to hire a good experienced IP lawyer, and you wouldn’t be reading this FAQ in the first place.

What is the difference between being dismissed with or without prejudice?
If you are dismissed with prejudice, plaintiff cannot sue again based on the same allegations. Otherwise he can file a new lawsuit against you.
You probably saw many notes of dismissal in court documents. When you see a mass dismissal with prejudice shortly after ISP supplied plaintiff with names, it translates into the fact that those people paid ransoms. If someone is randomly dismissed without prejudice, then most likely troll finds it impractical to pursue this particular defendant for variety of reasons, but he wants to be able to keep this person on the hook, just in case, or he is resolved to pursue these defendants individually in proper jurisdictions.

I see some cases when people are sued individually in their home states. I’m afraid that this can happen to me as well, and I will be financially devastated. Isn’t a settlement my best option?
Many bad things can happen to us. Think about it in statistical perspective. You are scared – this is the exact reason why these individual cases were conceived in the first place – to show everyone the intention to sue you no matter what. This is a bluff. The troll will be financially ruined if he chooses to sue everyone individually. Also, most likely he will proceed with an individual suit if he learns that you have some assets he can take from you. Another possible reason is to vindicate for your loud opposition: not surprisingly trolls try to discourage people from fighting back. So if you chose to fight, do it anonymously.


319 responses to ‘Our FAQ

  1. Were you able to keep your identity hidden? I received a letter from my ISP indicating that MCGLP, LLC filed a subpoena to disclose my identity in regards to Bittorrent usage. I don’t want my identity revealed and would pay a settlement if it is only $2-3k. I will obviously never use Bittorrent again – I didn’t even know there were all of these pending lawsuits.

    • This FAQ is the essence of what I’m trying to explain, but it answers only “what” part of the question. To answer the “why” part, you have to do your own research (hint: this site can accelerate it dramatically.) I’m pretty sure that this research would cost you (in terms of time) much, much less than the amount you are ready to reward a troll with. The decision is up to you.

  2. S,

    Some of us Joes have been able to keep our identity hidden, while others haven’t. I would suggest you file a motion to suppress (search for examples). Even if your personal information is released, the worst you will get is some settlement letters (AKA: extortion letter) and some telephone calls. Don’t reply to the letters, answer the calls, or call the Troll back. Anything you say will be used against you.

    What is the issue with your identity being released? There is nothing wrong with using Bit torrent. Before you decide to pay these bozos, please read all these posts and other sites. These Trolls are only out to make a fast dollar by abusing the unknowing and easily embarrassed.

    John Doe

    • Thank you, sir, that is quite close to what I would reply to S. I just want to add that S articulates the thoughts and emotions that trolls try to plant in victims’ heads (by means of fear and bullying) with 100% accuracy.

  3. Jane, when you refer to “anonymous” filings above, can you elaborate? Specifically, do you mean (a) signing them as John Doe #123 / IP address 111.222.333.444 or (b) signing them as John Doe without revealing the Doe # or IP address?

    A troll law firm has subpoenaed my info from my ISP and I have 30 days to file a motion to quash in order to delay disclosure. I certainly prefer to do so using anonymity type (b) so that I don’t open myself up to retaliation (higher settlement offers, dogged pursuit, etc.) when the law firm eventually gets my info, as it seems they probably will.

    Related, do you see any risk that the law firm might match up the timing of my motion to quash with a corresponding delay in my ISP handing over my info and connect the dots to unmask me?

    Many thanks!

    • My fault that I was not clear regarding this issue. I will update the FAQ soon. Giving your IP/Doe# is not advisable, it is just short of giving up your name. Trolls don’t like those who fight back and there is no surprise that they selectively prosecute those who dared to oppose. For example, look at this story.

      As for the potential result of filing a motion to quash, I think it does not really depend on how you identified yourself, it is mostly determined by judges’ opinion on the merits. If a judge is looking for an excuse to dismiss an unethical case, it will use any motion.

      And if your motion fails, and you are happened to be the only one who filed a motion, your troll may give you a “special treatment”: put more effort in harassing you, increase demands, or even name you in a separate lawsuit.

  4. Moving past the motion to quash, which I understand it is basically a moot point unless you a) really want the judge to hear what you have to say, and b) dont mind giving the trolls your information anyway. What happens next? I recieved my copy of the subpeona from Charter Cable, did a little bit of research, talked with an IP lawyer, then found this blog (which is wonderful). So now i am at the “wait and see” portion. I have recieved one extortion letter so far, a very short week after Charter handed over my information. But i see that Judge Zimmerman has already dismissed based on lack of jurisdiction. Well, i live in the swamps of backwoods Louisiana and feel that the District Court of Northern California has no jurisdiction over me. The plantiff attourney has even been quoted as saying he will likely dismiss all that are not in California. (If you havent guessed by now, plantiff is Ira Segal). Should i file a motion to dismiss with Judge Alsup since i am not in California and Judge Zimmerman has already said do not sue those who do not live in his district in his court. Or will filing such a motion get “special attention” that i really dont want to deal with? Or do i just continue to sit in silence and wait for the deadlines to pass and keep scouring the interweb for any mentions of my case? Any insights would be greatly appreciated.

    • Sitting in silence is not a bad strategy in your case. I know judge Alsup, he will not allow any anonymous motion (he stroke mine because of that), and signing any motion with a real name would not do any good (except for trolls). From the other hand, I believe that Alsup is aware of the ongoing scam, and he is rather respected among judges, so I wouldn’t worry too much, especially that jurisdiction questions are taken seriously these days, and I have not heard about Louisiana trolls yet.

      Siegel’s reputation is beyond repair I reckon.

  5. In the quash letters I see that it is always saying “drop” Does 2-78, from the case, or 2-4300 from the case. When we file a quash letter anonymously, do we ever know what number we are or do we do it for the entire group of people. Also, why do they always start with 2?

  6. I am currently in 2 lawsuits both in Florida and both by the same law firm. One suit has already successfully in getting my information due to no one contesting. The 2nd suit is currently being contested by a John Doe. Both suits were asking for identification of ISP owners of 1000 and 1500 people each. I neither live in Florida nor does my ISP company have any business in Florida. I might file a motion to quash but so far after reading all your information I am in the wait and see mode because it would be more expensive to go on the attack. FYI the law firm resides in Cali. I must say the information you have provided has done nothing but help me and if they do decide to pursue me in my home state I have spoken to a lawyer and have many issues with how my own ISP handled this. I havent seen any comments on Florida lawsuits from anyone here so just thought I would add it to the list. If you want information plz just let me know.

    • John Doe,

      I’m interested personally in how everything has worked out for you (assuming you’re still on the site at all) as I just got a letter from Neustar regarding the subpoena of my information from a Florida lawyer. I’ve basically decided to not do anything so, in short, I was curious how things worked out for you. Thanks in advance.

      p.s. I was given the letter with 5 days to respond, it seems most other people got almost a full month to respond to their ISP if they chose to withhold information. Is there something to be said about this?

      • Johnnie Doe was this letter from Neustar? Its seems this is common with notifications from Neustar who act as an agent for Brighthouse (for one).

        The letters usually mention Steele as the attorney, Prenda Law or one of their subtrolls. Leaving only a few days to respond is their MO.

        • Yes, the letter was from Neustar. Steele is not mentioned as the attorney – I’ve got a Alejandra Albuerne from Florida trying to come after me! RCN is my provider in the NY area..

        • Welcome to the family… I’ve so far chosen to do nothing and ignore everything hoping things will take care of themselves. I would like you to know that ‘AA’ is not a licensed attorney, Neustar is sending out letters claiming for her to be in writing, this is illegal. I called and left them a voicemail. I haven’t spoke to ‘AA’ herself yet but my lawyer will be soon.

          I’ll let you know how things go as they move forward

        • My mom has also got a letter from Neustar and RCN is my provider in the Boston area and Alejandra Albuerne is the Lawyer from Florida. But I would think that the “Target IP” on the letter is the one from the computer we use?

          But Yesterday I called RCN because my mom does not speak english and I told them about this IP Address and they told me that its not even close to any of the IP Address on our acount and started to tell them about this letter I’ve recieved and they told me to fax it to them so they can check it out and see if its real or fake.

          But as of now I really dont know what to do because we have a wireless router and we never put on a password on it and we live in a apartment building and what I’m thinking is that some one used our internet to download something, But the thing is that the wireless router has been with out a password for years and now we get some letter about this crap and I really don’t know what to do!

  7. Hello. First of all, thanks for this site, I’ve found it very useful and reassuring. I received a letter from Comcast in ref. to K-Beech’s subpoena for the identity of a number of IP address subscribers during the first week of August. This letter was left at the rental office of my apartment complex (located in MD). I was not notified of this, and the letter sat for weeks before I learned of its existence. I took no action, and heard nothing more about it until today when I received a voice mail from a cell phone from the Miami area. The caller identified me by name, said that her firm hadn’t heard from my legal counsel or myself, and that she needed me to call her back so that they could decide how to proceed. Needless to say, I did not return her call. Again, this was the first contact I have received from these people. Now, to my actual question: When I received the letter from Comcast, I was in the process of packing to move to another state (Louisiana). Will this affect K-Beech’s ability to file suit against me in MD?

  8. First, thanks for your great blog!
    I recently received like so many others a letter from my ISP stating that they’re going to release my private information to a plaintiff based on the activity of my IP address.
    I’ve tried to educate myself since then, while waiting for the dreaded settlement offers and threats.
    I was considering the strategy of ignoring them, confident that they would not name and serve me, since out of 200,000 people, no one seems to have ever been served, according to the various websites following these matters.
    Now looking up the latest cases, I’ve stumbled upon several new cases naming people. They’re all new so it seems that the attorneys have started to follow through their threats.








    Obviously these new developments shake my convictions as to the inability of the plaintiffs to actually sue people. I really wonder if that could be a change in their tactics. Does that mean that settling “might” be the best option?

    • Nope, settling will never be a best option, with one exception: you have said or (worse) wrote something self-incriminating. Yes, there are many cases against individuals, and it isn’t something new. IOGroup initiated 4 such cases, 2 of them were dismissed when troll Sperlein felt strong resistance. Antony Uy was the first – his lawyer Stewart Kellar (who is famous for defending GeoHot v. Sony) filed a response denying everything and requesting stricter proof, and Sperlein backed off.

      So my educated guess is that those named individually are either said/wrote something that can be used against them, or they are relatively wealthy, or have some weak points to press (like a closeted gay in gay porno cases) – in any case trolls hope to break them into settling, not allow these cases to move forward.

      I must admit that those trolls did a remarkable job scaring people if educated folks who understand the scam anatomy are still in doubt.

      I also have another suspicion. All these cases are run buy no-name attorneys because supertrolls (like Steele or Ira Siegel) wormtongued them to, misleading that it would be a safe business. We are yet to see (I bet it will never happen though) how these attorneys are being destroyed by sanctions for bringing lawsuits without any court-grade evidence. And supertrolls will get away with that, like many seasoned con artists, who use others to commit scams.

      How settling is the best option if given the facts, the probability of being named individually is 20 / 200K = 0.1%. If you buy an insurance at this rate, you are eligible for 10,000,000 payment if your 10,000 car is broken. Does it make any sense?

  9. That’s greeeaaat information! I was wondering… Has anyone seen trolls holding back alleged downloads and serving them one after another to the same Doe, for multiple settlements. Like filing for one movie and then sending a letter for multiple ones, or even worse once one case is dismissed or settled, coming back to harass the same Doe with another filing for another alleged download?

  10. One part I’m not quite clear on is that I also need to notify my ISP that I am filing a Motion to Quash. If send my Motion to Quash anonymously to the plaintiff, how would I do that with my ISP? If I fax my ISP my Motion to Quash as John Doe, how will they know it’s my name/IP that shouldn’t be included in the list to send to the plaintiff? What I’m guessing is my ISP has to know who I am, but as long as they see I filed the motion (albeit anonymously), that gives them a reason to not send my name to the plaintiff?

  11. I have recently received a letter from my ISP with my information being subpoenaed regarding a Hard Drive productions Vs. Does case. I came across this website during my search to understand what is going on and why and am starting to understand a bit more about the grand scheme. Thank you for putting together some great information.

    One thing I am concerned about is that my case was actually filed in the same state that I reside in. I am currently taking the “wait and see” method but should I be more concerned since I am in the same state?

    I have contacted a law firm in my state that is claiming to have experience with this matter. Their advice to me was to settle since they can help me negotiate the cost, only charge a flat fee and everything could be taken care of within a short period of time. Is this considered good advice?

    • What state are you in? Did you call a lawyer listed on efff.org for your state or just call the first guy you found on Google? .Your not even actually being sued yet! Not one person out of thousands has been named in a Hard Drive production case. Steele even stated that these lawyers are making money offf people to get the same settlement amount. It is sad that copyright trolls have now spawned settlement trolls.

  12. I am actually in Illinois… the same State the infamous troll Steele resides in. The odd thing is that I did contact a lawyer listed on the EFF.Org site. This firm was letting me know that settling is the cheapest and easiest, since in the end, full out litigation will cost much much more. Apparently most of their clients go this route since they also do not want to be named in a suit involving adult films.

    • Do people settling with the plaintiffs use a lawyer? Would that ensure that the situation is finalized versus handling it without a lawyer?

  13. I would email EFF and let them know this firm is giving this legal advice to most. Unless somone told the plantiff they downloaded a file or needs to make the issue go away because they can’t have their family find out then this advice is horrible. Go to rfcexpress.com and search hard drive productions. There are 38 active cases around the country since last december and a person has yet to be named. You can also search boy racer another hansmeier client and see one stalled case after another. Please call another lawyer on the list before doing anything. Steele will obviously name people at some point but the odds of that being you?? Very small.

  14. Thank you for that advice. I will contact EFF about this firm and let them know how they are pushing people to settle, even the ones wanting to fight.

  15. Got a call from Steele today. Voicemail stated that they have finally hired enough attorneys to proceed with individual suits. My process will begin next week according to them and I should be getting served. He also stated that it is never too late to settle. Gave me a case number and told me to call him back. I’m involved with 2 different Hard Drive cases. I am in Illinois and the case is a federal one. Just seeing if anyone else has heared anything.

  16. We heard about his new army of lawyers last week on this forum. He said he filed 10 named lawsuits last week but nobody can find them. You might want to at least utilize a free consultation with a lawyer from the EFF site just in case. He is right about it never being to late to settle…. That is because his firm doesn’t actually ever litigate or move forward. Also your in his jurisdiction!! He didn’t need to hire another firm to sue you. He could of paid the $350 and named you himself. As far as the two cases. Has he linked them or just going after one right now? I do not think their whole operation is very organized.

  17. I am noticing a lot of fear about being named… I am going to repost a great post from SophisticatedJaneDoe again that discusses this issue.

    Nope, settling will never be a best option, with one exception: you have said or (worse) wrote something self-incriminating. Yes, there are many cases against individuals, and it isn’t something new. IOGroup initiated 4 such cases, 2 of them were dismissed when troll Sperlein felt strong resistance. Antony Uy was the first – his lawyer Stewart Kellar (who is famous for defending GeoHot v. Sony) filed a response denying everything and requesting stricter proof, and Sperlein backed off.

    So my educated guess is that those named individually are either said/wrote something that can be used against them, or they are relatively wealthy, or have some weak points to press (like a closeted gay in gay porno cases) – in any case trolls hope to break them into settling, not allow these cases to move forward.

    I must admit that those trolls did a remarkable job scaring people if educated folks who understand the scam anatomy are still in doubt.

    I also have another suspicion. All these cases are run buy no-name attorneys because supertrolls (like Steele or Ira Siegel) wormtongued them to, misleading that it would be a safe business. We are yet to see (I bet it will never happen though) how these attorneys are being destroyed by sanctions for bringing lawsuits without any court-grade evidence. And supertrolls will get away with that, like many seasoned con artists, who use others to commit scams.

    How settling is the best option if given the facts, the probability of being named individually is 20 / 200K = 0.1%. If you buy an insurance at this rate, you are eligible for 10,000,000 payment if your 10,000 car is broken. Does it make any sense?

  18. They didn’t say specifically if they linked them or not. He referenced the “two case letters we have sent you” and that they will be moving forward with litigation. I think its funny how they give you this date to settle and if you pass it then you will be sued. Five months down the road they are still attempting to settle. It is obvious which one of us is showing weakness. I’m still freaked out, don’t get me wrong, but if need be I will fork out the money to fight these blood suckers. What are the odds of countering the lawsuit after I have won?

  19. By “fork out the money” I mean retain an experienced copyright lawyer. Also, I have none of the videos they are referring to. I haven’t downloaded any porn through torrent sites. That’s what the streaming sites are for. My IP has been named twice which baffles me.

  20. Five months! I would just consult an attorney so you have your ducks in a row. I thought you just got a letter lol. Have you checked your case dockets? I thought they had 120 days to serve u?

  21. Yeah the original demand letter came back in July. I guess that is only four months but I was just using five as an expression earlier. The last time I checked the dockets there was nobody named and there was no movement in filing anything through the court system. I wasn’t sure about the 120 day thing either. Still think the “wait and see” method of calling their bluff will be effective or should I make the move on consulting an experienced attorney? The EFF website had listed several and I actually contacted one in the Chicago area for advice back when the demand letters were coming in. They suggested settling and I was not willing to so I have not been in contact with them since.

  22. I would contact another one on the EFF list and get a free consultation. It can’t hurt… I would ask the lawyer about the 120 day thing. I don’t see a reason to settle all of a sudden. I would chalk up the “your gonna get sued next week.. we finally got an army of lawyers” as BS. Think about it… Your already in the freaking law firms jurisdiction. It would of cost them $350 to take you out of the other case and name you alone… They wouldn’t need to hire another lawyer to do this. Steele or one of his cronies could of this on their own in Illinois. I really hope you saved every letter you got. It could be useful in any class action suit that may be brought in the future against Steele. Also, how often do you get calls from Lutz or Steele? I would be saving these too. This is obvious abuse of the court system, speculative invoicing and and basically an extortion attempt for 4 months.

  23. I’ll definitely be contacting someone from the EFF for another consultation for more advice. I’m never going to settle, not only for my own sake, but for the cause of not letting these guys get what they want. I’ve saved everything that I’ve received except for the phone calls. I think I received about 10-15 calls over the period of the last four months. The most occurred right away and they stopped for nearly two months. Last week was the first time I had heard anything for quite some time. Watching the court progress made me think that maybe they were going away.

  24. I’ve finally been around your site more and have read what many people have to say and what they are dealing with. It seems that my case has gone much further than most people that have came here. Most seem to be dealing with the “should I file a motion to quash” stage. I never had a chance with that because the Judges were not allowing people to do this at the time and there was nowhere I could find that had the information easily accessible. I wish I had some of the resources that are available now a few months ago. So here’s my story – ISP subpoena-Talked to lawyers about motion to quash-Got nowhere because of the money involved-Phone calls and letters from Steele-Nothing for 2 months-Boom more calls and threats of actually being individually named.
    I appreciate all the advice you’ve given me and for doing quite the noble cause with this site. It is essential we use these channels to communicate and educate each other as we go through this process.

  25. m1a1, I think thousands of people have got to the point you have. I think most of the talk here is to try and stop the letters from coming so there is not a lot of discussion about the “settlement letter” stage. People usually come here after they get the letter from the ISP and obviously want to avoid having their name released to a troll. What has been shocking to me is how many different cases that Steeles firm is actually is involved in right now… I am hoping to figure out all the production companies they represent. Hard drive productions, AF Holdings, Boy Racer, and at least 2-4 more. Most of these cases had the limited discovery request granted meaning that there are a huge group of people in your boat, including myself, who never tried to quash and therefore recieved the letter. They have such a large pool of potential victims that I would be shocked if they finally decided to focus on you.. Well unless your living large with assets :). I do not think you would be here if that were the case.

  26. I was just wondering how soon the harassment (phone calls, letters) after the ISP discloses your personal information? I have been in contact with a lawyer but the process of responding to the lawsuit won’t begin until a few days and my information was released today, so should i expect the calls to begin immediately?

  27. Just received my first call from Steele/Lutz since my ISP divulged my information to them. I guess it’s my turn to bear the calls and letters…

  28. I received a DMCA notice from my ISP (Mediacom) about the P2P downloading of several adult films. They have a 3 strikes rule. Our internet was shut off for about 24 hours and then turned back on after we faxed them back a sheet basically saying we were aware it happened on our internet connection and that measures were taken to prevent it. It’s been about a month, and we have heard nothing further from our ISP about any complaints, nor a subpoena. Should I be worried about further action or not? How would I know if I’m being targeted in a suit? Would we know by now or would it take longer, and is there anything further I can do preemptively to ensure I don’t? Thank you very much, this is all very scary and I don’t think I’ve been so worried about something in my life.

    • you won’t technically be out of the woods for three years due to the statue of limitations. A lot of these lawyers gather a huge collection of IP numbers over months, and then file several months later. After a year the odds go down considerably.

      DMCA notices are what should be done in these cases.

      • Is the fact that I received a DMCA notice a good sign, though? Mediacom explained to my roommate that their 3 strikes policy was there to protect both them and us. I didn’t know if this was true, but at the time, due to both the Customer Support acting like everything would be ok, and the letter not being written in a threatening way (no amount of money was listed as possible for damages), we felt relieved. However, after hearing about these cases, I’m incredibly worried. It will be under my roommate’s name, but I’m responsible, so I plan on saving up money to just pay a settlement in case it ever comes up. I’ve never felt this physically ill over something. I thank you all so much for your info in this and your help in the matter.

        • Dude! You got a DMCA notice. Consider yourself lucky. I guess some adult film companies decided not to join the quick money scam before it derails.

  29. You don’t know how awesome that makes me feel, man. I appreciate the responses very much, and I will continue to check up on how cases are going with these people that are being harrassed for something they don’t deserve.

  30. Hello to all and thank you for your time and patience in dealing with these matters. I’m new to this situation my case is 11-29024ca05 boy racer inc vs john does 1-615 filed in Florida. I’m not going to lie and say I’m not sick to my stomach and scared because I am. To start I apologize to anyone if I ask the same question over, 1st in the event I decide to not file any motion and use the wait and see method and my information gets released because of a default judgement what are the odds they come after me in my own state like WIS, COL, or CA ( if there are any such cases where the defendent used this method and was successful let me know). My other question is the one I’m most confused about when sending a motion to quash or dismiss the bill of discoverey. 1st off do both documents I send need to be notarized, 2nd if I decide to use someone out of state to send both of these motions should they use there return address if not what kind when sending certified mail. 3rd how should I sign each document, should I use my email address that I created for this case or my john doe # or just john doe ( which would be more successful in Florida courts). Also what should I send to my ip and what should I put on it and send with it. When I send my motion to the court is there a filing fee or do i just send it? Also has anyone used a remaiing service like MIDWEST REMAILER are they reliable in case I can’t file out of state. in closing I would like to say sorry for all the grammar errors to which there a plenty, but I just needed to get this out there. One last thing do any of you know of a judge by the name of Marc Shumacher and his views on these cases? Especially now that Steele Hansmeier using the Bill Of Discovery.

        • Yes, as we’ve been saying, these are likely Does who are presumed to be slam dunk default judgements or incriminated themselves in communication with the trolls. Nothing has been revealed in the solo cases so far that even hint that the trolls are looking to actually go to trial, fight their case and expose their investigative methods.

  31. It also appears that Lipscomb’s portfolio started filing again as well – Patrick Collins, Third Degree, Raw Films and NuCorp. There were like six cases filed in Eastern Pennsylvania. I guess they will be going state-to-state for the next month r so again…

    Curiously enough, On NuCorp’s copyright applications, Lipscomb’s law firm is designated as correspondence handler (logical, given that NuCorp is a foreign entity, but it is rather clear that these guys have been nurturing this relationship for some time now)…

    Btw, we haven’t talked about this troll here so far, but it looks like Florida BoD cases were pioneered by him. Sounds like a “hero” not getting his proper attention to me…

  32. First off, I would like to thank you for all this information. I received a letter from Comcast yesterday listing me as one of 625 defendants. I live in CT and the case was filed in FL. In your opinion, is it better to sit and wait or should I send the anonymous letter to the court? I am thinking it is better to send the letter anonymously thereby delaying the release of my name these vultures. How will I know whether or not I need to send another motion to quash the subpoena or is that even an option? In addition, is it a bad idea to send a separate letter to Comcast identifying myself as being in possession of the IP address identified in the case documents? I think that is the only way to ensure that they do not release my name. I have no desire to be harassed as I believe my former neighbor is responsible for the illegal downloading that took place in July. I apologize if you have already addressed these issues, but I did not see them anywhere in the blog and I want to proceed in a manner which allows me to best avoid being identified to the trolls. Comcast should do more to protect the rights of their users. Thank goodness I moved and do not need to deal with them anymore!

    [sjd removed the email address – looks like you indicated your primary email, not a good idea: trolls frequent this forum. Be careful.]

  33. I received a letter today from Neustar, it was a Mass subpoena notification… I had no idea what it was about so did some internet searches and learned about Boy Racer, Inc. and BitTorrent??? I have never even heard of BitTorrent, have no clue what it is, and the IP address on the letter isn’t even mine. How would I have gotten this letter and what do I do? After looking at all of the stuff I have seen on the web, I now have an idea of what BitTorrent is and that this somehow relates to a movie (maybe porn), Anyway, I hate to just ignore something like this but I definitely don’t want some low life lawyer having my personal information, any suggestions?

    • Susan: hang tight and spend time reading through this site. The copyright trolls getting your personal info can be annoying, but it’s not the end of the world. They want that info from the ISP so they can send you letters and call you telling/”suggesting” you to settle with them for around $3500-$4000 to make the case go away. If it gets to this point do not deal with them. Ignore their calls and letters.

      Also, use this site for information:


      There is a list of lawyers there who deal with these types of cases (against the trolls), so feel free to consult with one near you.

  34. Just received my first settlement letter. Even though I did some research prior to receiving the letter; I began to panic and then found this website. I’m still pretty worried, but I’m much more calm about the situation. Thanks for eveyone who participates here, I’m still in shock that this is even happening.

    • Don’t panic, Johnny. Just read up on everything on this site and stay calm. Save the letters from the trolls, but do not respond to them or their phone calls. The only time you need to respond is if you receive an official court summons/notice directly from the state. Such a thing would never come via the trolls and even then you would communicate with the court and your attorney, not the trolls. That said, the odds are greatly in your favor that you will never receive such a thing so long as you ignore their attempts to coerce you to settle and do or say nothing to incriminate yourself.

      • Thanks dude. I’ve practically read most of the blogs/stories here. I’ll continue to come up here periodically and participate in anything to burn these SOBs down. I’d rather give my money to the first random person I see than to some BS settlement.

  35. So if some does are dismissed by the plaintiff with the following reason, does it mean they have settled ? “The respective Does have filed neither an answer to the complaint nor a motion for summary judgment with respect to the same.”

  36. When some does are dismissed by the plaintiff with reason of “The respective Does have filed neither an answer to the complaint nor a motion for summary judgment with respect to the same.”, does it mean the have settled ?

    • Can you quote the full action? Are you sure anyone is being dismissed? Does it specifically say that the plaintiff is dismissing someone, or is the court?

        Plaintiff, pursuant to Rule 41(a)(1) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, hereby dismisses
        with prejudice all causes of action in the complaint against the Doe Defendants associated with
        the Internet Protocol addresses listed in Exhibit A to this Notice of Dismissal. The Doe
        Defendants associated with this Dismissal are Does 6–11. The respective Does have filed neither an answer to the complaint nor a motion for summary judgment with respect to the same.
        Dismissal under Rule 41(a)(1) is therefore appropriate.

  37. I live in MD and received a letter from my ISP today regarding a subpoena by the Lipscomb, Eisenberg and Baker group of FL .

    I have a question about the activity header. Is the IP address, date, and time a specific subpoena for that moment and time, or a starting point? Because I can prove that I was not home using my internet during that time or specific day.

    I too am freaking out. Though I plan on consulting with a lawyer, I’m slightly pissed off that the motion for subpoena was place with my ISP on 12/08/11 in regards to activity back on 7/30/11, but I wasn’t notified until today 1/10/12, and I have until 1/20/12 to respond with a quash. Seems a bit rushed and illegal. Shouldn’t I have more than 10 days to respond?

    Thanks for any help,
    John Doe # who knows at this point

    • Each troll does it different, but most only list one date/time when they collected the information on the Public IP address. They do not list the start/Stopp date/times. If they did this, it would be easy to show improper joinder because all the Does in their cases DID NOT take part in the same swarm.

      DieTrollDie 🙂

    • Hi, I received the same letter. Have you found out the case number? If so, can you post it here so we can try to file a motion to quash?

      • I haven’t gotten the case number yet. I did call the Neustar # and got little information. I talked with a couple lawyers who specialize in this area, and they said at this time there is little worth doing. You could file a motion to quash, but as I’m sure you’ve read on here, it isn’t always successful. One lawyer I spoke to was charging $1200 to do this.

        The representative from Neustar did say records were only being released about the date and time listed on your letter. She mentioned that she had received many calls about this particular case…so we are certainly not alone.

        I waiting and preparing for the worst. If indeed it goes in the direction of threating letters I will post the name of the lawyer if that helps.

        • Try torrentlitigation.com. Look through the cases and match your IP from the Neustar notice to the IPs listed in the cases. This site seems to list the new cases as they occur.

    • I got this letter too.
      You’re probably in the same case as me: 2011-37821-CA-01

      if you want to discuss: email me at will(dot) winsome at gmail

    • I’ve received the same exact letter, from the same agency only mine specifies the name of the lawyer – Alejandra Albuerne. Has anyone made any movement on this or are people still in the sitting and waiting part of the process.

      I was named directly in the letter which came from Neustar. I’m in NY but I too have RCN cable.

      Any advice would help or if anyone has made any progress please let me know.

        • Should I change my mind regarding doing nothing prior to RCN giving up my information now that we know whose coming after me?

        • Sadly Alejandra Albuerne did not sign the letter herself (as it was a letter from Nuestar referring to her) so I only have it written from a member of Neustar referencing her as an attorney.

          In multiple points throughout the letter does it say, Please call Alejandra Albuerne, Attorney, At ###, etc.

          I’m going to have a brief conversation with Neustar tomorrow and explain to them that representing an individual as a lawyer is both terms for a felony conviction and miscommunication of information. Perhaps that might slow down this process of falsified information.

          Anything else I can do to help, I’d really like to see these bastards go down in flames.

      • Might I also say that, after searching both ecourts online and lexixnexis its come across that there is a large chance that Alejandra Albuerne is not actually a licensed lawyer.

        She works Paralegal for Lipscomb but is not a licensed lawyer. It is against the law to claim that you are a lawyer in a legal document, if you are not in fact a licensed lawyer…

          • It’s not only about Lipscomb, but trolls in general. Porn copyright crooks are only a tiny part of the lawyer community, and those who do care about reputation of legal profession would go extra mile to drown this despicable “business model”. Also I hate the stereotype of a heartless bottom feeder lawyer. It’s just a profession. True, the specifics of this profession attracts cynics more than any other profession, but still the majority of lawyers can tell wrong from right and motivated by higher goals than stuffing their pockets.

            Florida is just a bit “hotter” place now as many understand the necessity of closing the loophole of Pure Bill of Discovery. And it will be closed sooner or later. Trolls are similar to traveling gangs who rob a bunch of banks in a state and then move to new fertile grounds. Keeping them on the run requires some work.

        • Case 11-2471414 CA 22 John Doe defendants 1-1154
          I received a letter from neustar back in October identifying my IP address and stating my ISP would release my name and phone number to Lipscomb Eisenberg & Baker. Well they did and I got the call today from an Anthony Palmer. Scared the crap out of my wife and I with the threats. I had no idea so said I didn’t know who could have downloaded the title and asked what the settlement amount was and they said they would send settlement papers to my email address, all before I read any of the info on this site. What are my options now?

  38. I have a question about any potential lawsuits I could become a part of. I have not been named as JD as of yet, but what happens if I’m named at a later date (4-5) months from now and I’m no longer in the country? Or in the state where the torrent download allegedly happened? I am actually not an American citizen and am only here on a temporary VISA.
    From what I’ve been reading, the ISP would just track down whomever held the IP in question when the alleged infringement occured, but would they be able to contact me if I was no longer in America? What if I was in Canada? Do i have some kind of obligation to give my ISP a Canadian address? Will i still be able to be sued in a case involving potentially dozens of other JD’s in an American court as a non-American citizen?
    My biggest concern is that I will be named in a lawsuit and won’t even know about it because I won’t be in America anymore, and then I won’t be able to hire a lawyer and deal with it, and it could lead to a worst case scenario. Can somebody let me know my options here? I will only be in America until June, when my VISA expires and I have to leave the country.
    Thanks very much for the help.

    • Sorry to reply again, but because I’m leaving the country soon, I’d really like to know what my options are and what I should maybe do to prepare before I leave.

      Any and all information you guys might have in the scenario would be very very greatly appreciated.

      Thanks again

    • OK. Once the Troll has your personal information, they will start their “settlement” efforts. If the Troll can’t find or contact you, they will either press forward with a trial (hoping for a default judgement), or they will drop it and focus on the people who they know are still around. If you tell the Troll you are leaving the country, they may look to cause you some pain with US Customs, ICE (or another Federal agency) in hopes you pay up. Take a look at “Your” Troll to see what his/her history is. If you Tell the ISP where to forward information (i.e Canada), it is likely that a Troll will eventually get this. There was a Canadain citizen who ignored an offical summons and the Troll won a default judgement. Sorry but I don’t have the link to the article/story. I don’t know if the troll will ever get anything from, but the point is that it can happen. If you ever have to come back to the US, it could be a big pain in the but – many US Federal agencies share information in various databases. If you never have to come back, then it isn’t a big issue.

      DieTrollDie 🙂

  39. So do you think if I don’t receive a letter or anything before I leave the country I should seek out the planitiff’s lawyer myself? Or would it just be better to leave a Canadian address with my ISP for them to forward me information?
    Another thing is, I’ve read that if the lawyers don’t serve you within a year after the alleged copyright infrignement, the odds of getting sued decrease dramatically…is this true in most cases? I understand the statuate of limitations is 3 years, but after a year does it become more unlikely that you will be named in a suit? And if so, is this because the lawyers left the case too long for judges to side with them, or for some other reason?


    • I would not contact the Troll. IMO opinion, you are only looking for more trouble with that option. I would ask a friend (in the US) to be the address the ISP and others have. Please note that if you file a “Change of Address” form with the US Postal Service, the Troll is likely to get your new forwarding address (if it forwards to Canada) when his letter tries to reach your last known address. The longer the Troll takes to take action the better, as it does seem more unlikely they will do anything. It is more likely that the Troll has moved on to new cases and John Does, not that a judge thinks they took to long.

      DieTrollDie 🙂

  40. I see, thanks for the help! If the situation ever does come up though, I think I’d rather just leave my contact information with my ISP. Would that be sufficient you think?

    Also, if do get named in a suit and was considering settling, if I stated my case that I am a foreign student with no legal means of earning income, do you think it’s possible if I hire an attorney to negotiate a decreased settlement amount? Should I mention my financial status at all or keep that confidential? I’ve been reading that Trolls like to go after people that have assets and can actually pay.

    • That should be fine – you’re pursuing SOME kind of due diligence, which counts for a lot more than you think with the court. Remember, the court is concerned with providing a fair trial, the trollawyers are concerned with snatching your cash.
      If the trollawyers go for a default judgment, and the worst of all things happens, meaning the judge grants it without any investigation, and you don’t know about it until the bill collectors hunt you down (and they tend to find their man) … you can always appeal. The fact that you have done due diligence by notifying your ISP before your visa expired would be perfect grounds for granting an appeal.

      Trollawyers are bastards and can play some mean, nasty dirty tricks, but as long as you cover your bases, keep YOURSELF on the up and up, and have documentation to prove that you’ve done your due diligence, you’ll be fine. Besides, let’s see them extradite you to try to collect on their bullshit demands, anyhow.

  41. I think leaving your forwarding info with the ISP would work. If you do get named, then let your attorney do the talking on what information to tell the troll.

    DieTrollDie 🙂

  42. We have just received a letter with Alejandra Albuerne named on the letter from Neustar too. I understand that there is a loophole in Florida law- but how can this type of practice be justifiable should they wish to go to a default judgement? What type of judge would allow this to happen?

    Furthermore, The letter is was sent postmarked 01/10/12 with the deadline to delay or terminate the process on or before 01/20/12. This letter arrived today 01/25/12- does this mean it’s too late to try to stop this? And surely, as it was received after the deadline they set this can’t be a realistic deadline for them to have given…..or is that one of their other tricks?

    We have RCN in DC.

    Please let me know if you have the same situation and what you plan to do about it going forward.

    • That is pretty terrible. I got my letter from RCN/Neustar with 4 days to spare. I would definitely call the number RCN gives and try to speak with someone there. The date was set in the subpoena as 1/23/2012, but they waited a month to send the letters once they had the subpoena. Unfortunately, there was nothing in the subpoena about notifying customers. Frankly, I’m surprised we were notified at all. Needless to say, I’m cancelling RCN as soon as possible. It wasn’t an accident they sent the letters out so late. Other ISPs, I know AT&T in Texas, have successfully fought the subpoena in Florida. You can google for the details.

      As for the judge, I don’t really know. There are at least two motions to dismiss filed for the case right now though. One from my attorney. We’ll see what happens, but I can’t imagine that judges have their heads this far in the sand.

      • I’m not familar with the legal process, so I was wondering, would these two motions to dismiss cover all 915 Does? And if granted, would that end this process?

  43. Have been named in AF Holdings V Does 1-1140. They have my information already(name, address, email address) The suit is in DC but I am nowhere near there. Is Motion to Dismiss for lack of Jurisdiction a goosd idea at this point. Many of the Does have already been released.
    Where is as good example of a Motion that I can get a basic formast to use? I have looked and it seems some are sealed. The attorney put a different state for the loation where the suit was filed on the demand letter, and a different one for the venue on another document that was sent, is that something to point out in the motion?

    • No advice for you, but have you seen this?


      “AF Holdings, LLC v. Does 1-1,140 (Case No. 1:11-cv-01274) has survived scrutiny without a hiccup as Prenda has been “pretending” to search and see which defendants lived in DC. To make their searches appear valid, they immediately started dismissing a bunch of defendants a few at a time (“NOTICE of Voluntary Dismissal re Does 1-8,” “…Does 9-15,” “…Does 16-35,” “…Does 36-65″ — what I do not understand is, “Hasn’t Judge Reggie Walton figured out their game yet?” After all, it appears to me as if none of the defendants [so far] live in DC. And, they filed the complaint in JULY 2011! Did it REALLY take them 5 MONTHS to figure out that the first 65 defendants did not live in DC? I could have done this in just a few minutes using known geolocation tools). In short, Judge Reggie Walton is allowing this to move forward for now, but he is not stupid. My prediction is that he is going to bust this case using FRCP 4(m) any time now.”

  44. Let’s suppose you have created your own MTQ using an available template. I’m sure you’ll have to use your real name on the MTQ to your ISP, or they won’t know who you are. However, it would be suicide to send your real ID to the plaintiff and judge. Therefore, can you send your MTQ to them using a fictitious name, as long as it states your reason for the MTQ or do they need to be exact copies with your real name on it?

    Obviously you can use a priority envelope with delivery confirmation to avoid postal tracking.

    Any answers?

  45. Suppose the letter received from the ISP was not personally signed for, therefore not guaranteeing the letter reached the intended recipient. Would that be the postal service’s fault or the ISP’s? Would it be grounds for the motion?
    After reading the posts here , it seems there are no clear cut answers to actually help anyone.
    Considering this, I believe it may be best to simply contact a lawyer to file the motion.
    It’s quite apparent that one cannot legally file a motion without revealing one’s identity to the troll.
    So, there may be 2 games in this scheme: one used by the troll to extort money out of fear and one used by attorneys that wish to take advantage of those receiving letters from their ISP, hence the reason for no real answers here. Perhaps the ACLU could offer real suggestion.
    Problem is, everyone has a time frame to do it in.

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